In 1986 Perry Mandera was in the trucking business and had the idea of offering a one-stop shopping experience that would meet all of a customer’s transportation needs. With that vision and a commitment to World Class Customer Service, Perry Mandera founded Custom Companies, Inc. It took grit for Perry Mandera to grow and develop Custom Companies these past 32 years. Custom Companies now has hub offices in Chicago and Los Angeles, over 600 employees and $200 million in annual revenue. In the recent book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, its author identified four qualities possessed by people with grit. Here’s how Mandera stacks up in the four conditions of grit:
- Have a fierce resolve in everything you do.
An employee at Custom Companies commented “Perry has remarkable drive. Perry is a visionary and is always ahead of the game.” His focus was recognized when the Illinois Truckers Association listed Mandera in its “Top 100 Executives of the Millennium” in 2000
- Demonstrates determination, resiliency, and tenacity
On the company’s 30th anniversary in 2016, Mandera was asked what challenges he faced in building his business, “Convincing potential customers about the one-stop-shop (transportation company) concept. In the second ten, it was “Controlling growth and profits while still providing ‘World Class Service”. In the third ten, it is “Remaining competitive in the marketplace with competing technologies, pricing, and service.”
- Does not let temporary setbacks become permanent excuses
“My time in the United States Marine Corps prepared me for a life in business”.
- Uses mistakes and problems as opportunities to get better – not reasons to quit.
Perry Mandera is known for his ability to see obstacles as opportunities. A longtime employee reflected on this theme: “Custom Companies is always evolving and changing. I like that Perry thinks outside of the box and is not afraid to try something new.”
Custom Companies, now in its 32nd year of operation, thrives under Mandera’s leadership. What makes him proud? We get a hint of this remarkable businessman’s values in his response to the question. He makes no mention of money, instead, without hesitation, Mandera responds: “…the retention of people and the ability to adjust to an ever-changing logistics industry as well as the ability to help countless numbers of people though Custom Cares Charities (Customcares).” His employees, his customers, and the charities that benefit from his generosity are grateful that Perry Mandera, Founder of Custom Companies is a leader with grit.